To Roo or not to Roo...that is my question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by holyhart, Jun 5, 2012.

  1. holyhart

    holyhart Songster

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    I've had chickens for a few years now, but only hens. We lost the last of our first flock this spring. In our new pullets that I bought, 2 turned out to be roos. I've gotten over my sadness of Lady Jane being Mr. Darcy (for anyone who read my thread in the gender section...), but now I'm wondering if I should keep one of the roos afterall (I'm sure I can talk hubby into it!). I have someone buying my first roo this afternoon, so I will have 1 roo to my 8 ladies.

    So, my questions to all you "old timers" (I've been reading through the old timer thread....might take me a LONG while![​IMG] infact, I might be an old time before I finish!), and you not so old times, are as follows:

    1. What are the pros/cons of having a rooster?

    2. Would the 1 to 8 ratio be okay, or would the hens be over stressed by his "attentions"? If my number of pullets is too small, how many would be sufficient so as not to overtax them and keep him happy?

    3. Would he need to be housed seperately or would he be fine in the coop every night with the ladies? Could the ladies be in the tractor or run and he be completely free ranging to give them a break, or would that create problems?

    4. Eggs....from what I understand about fertilized eggs is that if I collect and refridgerate them daily, I won't end up cracking an egg to find a chick. Is this correct? I don't always refridgerate my eggs right away, so that is something I would need to know! What if I decided at some point to try my hand at hacthing some eggs?

    5. He is part silkie and possibly part crevecouer (not sure his heritage as he was sold as a barnyard mix...he is starting to show some red in his hackle feathers so not sure about the crevecouer, but he does have the crest feathers), I don't really know how large or small he will be...I do have one bantam pullet...will he end up hurting her since she is smaller?

    Okay, that is enough questions for now. I look forward to anyone's advice and experience, and thank you ahead of time.[​IMG]
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

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    Aug 12, 2009
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    My Coop
    I don't know if I can adequately answer all of your questions, but here goes:

    1. What are the pros/cons of having a rooster? Eye candy, a protective eye on the hens, egg fertility.

    2. Would the 1 to 8 ratio be okay, or would the hens be over stressed by his "attentions"? If my number of pullets is too small, how many would be sufficient so as not to overtax them and keep him happy? The ideal ratio is 1 rooster per 10 hens. I see this as an opportunity to increase your flock size and if DH complains, just tell, "Well, I *had* to, to keep the correct ratio". Seriously though, 1 roo to 8 hens should be fine. I'm not sure how low the numbers can go and not have them over-mated - hopefully someone else will weigh in on that.

    3. Would he need to be housed seperately or would he be fine in the coop every night with the ladies? Could the ladies be in the tractor or run and he be completely free ranging to give them a break, or would that create problems? Not only is there no need to house him separately but it is better if he is with the girls. That way he can keep an eye on them and warn them to take cover if he detects danger.

    4. Eggs....from what I understand about fertilized eggs is that if I collect and refridgerate them daily, I won't end up cracking an egg to find a chick. Is this correct? I don't always refridgerate my eggs right away, so that is something I would need to know! What if I decided at some point to try my hand at hacthing some eggs? If you spend any time on the incubating and hatching thread, what you'll hear is the difficulty people sometimes have getting anything to develop and hatch. Optimum conditions include a temperature higher than is found in most homes, so even if they are at room temperature, your eggs will not start to develop - unless you live in an extremely hot climate and don't air-condition your home at all. The optimal temp for incubating is 99.5 to 101 so unless you keep your home close to that temperature, you should never crack an egg and see any development. If you decide at some point to hatch, your best option is a broody hen. Failing that, you can make an incubator fairly cheaply or buy one for a little extra money.

    5. He is part silkie and possibly part crevecouer (not sure his heritage as he was sold as a barnyard mix...he is starting to show some red in his hackle feathers so not sure about the crevecouer, but he does have the crest feathers), I don't really know how large or small he will be...I do have one bantam pullet...will he end up hurting her since she is smaller? If he is part silkie, he may be on the smaller side himself. Aside from that, I have no experience with that particular situation...sorry.
     
  3. holyhart

    holyhart Songster

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    Apr 11, 2012
    New Hampshire
    Hahaha! Love it![​IMG]

    Thanks for the response. Gives me some things to think about!
     
  4. janinepeters

    janinepeters Songster

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    Jun 9, 2009
    "He is part silkie and possibly part crevecouer (not sure his heritage as he was sold as a barnyard mix...he is starting to show some red in his hackle feathers so not sure about the crevecouer, but he does have the crest feathers), I don't really know how large or small he will be...I do have one bantam pullet...will he end up hurting her since she is smaller?"

    In my experience, it's rooster's temperament, not the anatomy, that usually determines whether or not he will hurt her. Some are more aggressive lovers than others.

    Actually, the one time I saw anatomy create a problem was with a bantam brahma rooster (a little round meatball of a roo) who wore the shoulder feathers off a full sized hen because he struggled so much to make his private parts reach hers. He didn't damage the tiny EE bantam hen even though he was quite a bit larger than her. He was able to mate her easily, so mating was quick and uneventful. So I think a large roo has an easier time managing a small hen, and would tend to do less damage to her. That is, unless he has a violent streak.
     

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